Haterating “The Californians: Karina Returns”

I was devastated when Kristen Wiig left Saturday Night Live last year because it meant the loss of one of most quotable SNL characters in recent memory. “Are you out of your MIND? The 405 will be totally JAMMED!” has become the cocktail party rejoinder to almost any conversation about moving through Los Angeles. But this week, Wiig was back as host, and so was The Californians, which, even though it’s an SNL skit, is totally one of my top ten favorite shows on television.

I firmly believe that the Saturday Night Live cast has nothing but love for LA. After all, many of them live here some of the time, or did in their early improv days, and they’ll all have to move here eventually to work on their film careers when they finally graduate from the show. Therefore, the resulting anti-L.A. sentiment is actually quite nuanced. But however insightful it may be, there are some pretty damning stereotypes explored in The Californians, which means we have to haterate it. As much as we, in fact, love it.

Title: “The Californians: Karina’s Return
AuthorKristin Wiig, et al. (websiteWikipedia, no Twitter)
Publication: Saturday Night Live 
Date AiredMay 11, 2013
Length6:54

  • Spanish-speaking housekeeper +1
  • “Yucca plant” +1
  • White wine +1

STUART: She was my California Dream. But that dream died. She was driving too fast down Ocean Avenue. She took a quick right on Pico, then a left on Wilshire, then drove straight off the Santa Monica Pier.

  • California Dream +1
  • I mapped all the directions provided by The Californians. Sometimes they’re right but this one doesn’t check out. If you’re driving on Ocean Avenue you’d have to turn left on Pico (after Pico it turns to Neilson Way). And we know Pico doesn’t intersect with Wilshire. Plus, you’d have to be on Colorado if you wanted to drive off the pier. +2
  • Santa Monica Pier +1

STUART: What are you doing here, Devon? I thought you were at Comic-Con!

  • Comic-Con (ouch, that one stings) +3
  • The way they talk? Like every sentence? Is a question? +10

DEVON: Stuart, you never paid me for regrouting the tile in your outdoor shower area.
STUART: You said it was pro bono.
DEVON: It wasn’t pro bono!

  • Outdoor shower +1
  • Pro bono (plus bonus for awesome misuse of the term) +2

DEVON: I have to go pick up my stepdaughter at Fred Segal on 5th Street in Santa Monica. I’m gonna take Barrington down to the 10, exit on 4th, and then I’m gonna look for street parking around Colorado.
STUART: Well, you’re never gonna find a spot on Colorado, Devon.
DEVON: I said around Colorado, Stuart!

  • Fred Segal +1
  • The 10 +1
  • These directions are correct, although surface streets might be faster depending on where he’s coming from. OMG, listen to me. +1
  • Telling someone exactly where you’re looking for street parking +1

KARINA/BRAD: The landscape company sent me over to trim your rosemary topiaries.

  • Gardener +1
  • Rosemary topiaries +1
  • The characters end each scene looking in the mirror as a metaphor for our narcissism +3
  • Theme song that sounds like “Ventura Highway” by America +1
  • White wine +1
  • I highly doubt that coastline in the theme is anywhere in Southern California +1
  • Dodger Stadium +1
  • “Indoor/outdoor foyer” +1

STUART: I said, get out of here! Get on the 5, go up to Magic Mountain, get on Riddler’s Revenge and never get off!

  • The directions check out, including Riddler’s Revenge +0
  • Magic Mountain +1
  • Extra points for starting to lose it here +3

KARINA: After the crash I jumped in the back of a Lincoln Town Car that was supposed to be waiting for Neve Campbell. I told the driver to get us lost. So he drove around Glendale for months.

  • Because there is always a Lincoln Town Car waiting if you need one +1
  • B-list celebrity name check +1
  • Glendale +1 

STUART: I hope you’re all enjoying your agave margaritas.
KARINA: I made them with real agave that I bought at the Original Farmers Market at the Grove. I saw Téa Leoni there. She was with Tia Carrere!

  • 5 of 6 characters are blond +5
  • Including a black man with blond hair +1
  • Agave margaritas +1
  • Original Farmers Market at the Grove +1 
  • More B-list celebrities +2
  • Reporting on what celebrities you saw when you were out (we all do it) +0 

KARINA: What are you doing in our Spanish-style mini-mansion?

“Spanish-style mini-mansion” +1
I thought they lived in Brentwood but now that I think about it they must live in West LA, right? +1
Marina del Rey (it’s a recurring punch line in the series) +1 

KETHA: At this hour? Stuart, not on your life. The 405 is gonna be totally jammed. And I’ll have to take Lincoln all the way up to Washington Boulevard.

Because the 405 IS probably totally jammed +0
Another set of completely correct directions to Marina del Rey (when they’re good, they’re good) +0

TOTAL SCORE: 57

LA Haters Leaderboard
Meghan O’Rourke629
Martin Filler549
The Californians: 57 

Due to their fresh and often quite true takes on LA life that don’t lapse into the same old stereotypes, The Californians aren’t anywhere close to the haterade-level supplied by our other LA Haters. Also, a brief note to one of our previous contestants: This is how you do satire.

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